Thinking about making the switch

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by feelthefire, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Hi all-

    I'm a longtime PC user looking for advice. My current PC laptop is gearing up for replacement in about six months, and I'm thinking about going mac. I used a macbrook pro last night at a friend's and was really impressed with the flexibility of the OS and the available programs to enhance the functionality (I loved the widgets and post its, as well as the free software that enhances the functionality a lot.) I am very interested in making the switch to mac because the flexibility and appearance of the OS really interests me, but now for the problem.

    Obstacle number one is my father. I'm a sophomore in college (by the time I buy a new laptop, almost a junior), but he is a hardware developer working 100% with windows. He's been courted by apple for a high powered development position and rejected it. Suffice it to say that he thinks macs are overpriced and underfunctional. He's opposed to the idea, and since we will be at minimum splitting the cost 50/50 he does have a say in the decision. So I'd need some compelling reasons to switch, and I suspect "I like the pretty OS and extra software" won't really do it. I'm hoping there may be a compelling reason regarding some software I use that will encourage him to let me at least attempt the switch. He is insisting that by the time I'm ready to buy, all the mac applications and operating systems will be perfectly functional on a windows system. Is this true?

    That brings me to my second point. I'm a chemistry student and use software that involves CAD and 3D modeling- and a lot of the programs I will end up accumulating are available only for windows, with the exception being the Chem3D 10 suite.

    These are the programs that I need to use on a regular basis:
    Mathcad 13
    Mathematica 10
    HyperChem 7.5
    Maple 10
    TurboCAD Pro 12
    Chem3D 10.0

    As mentioned, only Chem3D is available in a suite for Mac.

    Would it be inadvisable to try to run these programs on parallels or bootcamp? I enjoy the functionality of the Mac OSX for more everyday stuff, but will need these programs pretty often. Additionally, some of my data comes from linux systems- does that complicate things even further?

    I know for all this 3D work I'll need a lot of memory and a good graphics card, so I'm probably looking at a macbook pro. That I'm okay with. Many of my professors use macs and they're the driving force behind getting one for myself, but I want to be sure I'm making a $3000 investment I'll be comfortable with.

    Any advice from people who use this type of academic software, or who have to run a lot of programs on parallels? My father is a whole 'nother issue, but as far as the computing goes, would a Mac work for me?

    Any advice is appreciated. Thanks so much.
  2. bobber205 macrumors 68020


    Nov 15, 2005
    Bootcamp is the same as a PC when you use it. Get the mac.
  3. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    Untrue, Mathmatica and Maple are also available for the Mac.

    However, for everything you cannot run in Parallels, BootCamp will work excellently.
  4. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Much as I would like to advise you to get a Mac, with your needs you may be better sticking with Windows. Remember, to use Boot Camp or Parallels, you're going to have to buy XP.

    However, you say many of your professors use Macs, so perhaps you should get one or two of them to say how they work with Macs and what if any advantages there are?
  5. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    I thought Mathematica was available for the Mac. Isn't it?

    You'll have better interoperability with Linux under OS X than Windows since it is just another unix clone under the GUI skin and X11 is supported out of the box.

    With most of the stuff you want to run expect to spend a fair amount of time in Windows...

  6. tipdrill407 macrumors 6502

    May 26, 2006
    A Dell with the same specs cost more than the MBP i think that is a huge selling point.
  7. feelthefire thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    I won't be buying a dell. If I get a new windows system, it will be compaq, HP, or sony. I get employee deals on compaq and HP, and the sonys tend to come well equipped stock.

    Mathematica and Maple are available for mac, I stand corrected. Chem3D is one of the most important things I use, so the mac availability for that is great. I assume parallels would be enough to manage the other things? I don't use CAD programs all that often, but need to be able to access them.

    Dual booting both OS's seems like a really great feature to me, but will this eventually go the other way? Not just an emulator or secondary VMware type setup, but a native boot of OSX without slowing any applications and without losing support for internet and the like?

    It's also possible that there are similar versions of some of the chem programs I use that have been created for Mac. I was investigating only readily purchaseable options, but it's possible there are programs with similar functionality. Is there a website that would have that kind of information?

    Also, a copy of XP is no big deal, since my father is a developer we get it on the cheap and have several copies available.
  8. manic macrumors regular

    May 29, 2006
    I apprecciate the thoroughness of your report, and I hope you end up making the best decision for yourself, but as others have put it, it should be a no brainer as macs, besides beings macs, are now pcs too, and do all that non-mac pcs can do. You do intensive computing and I get the feeling youre a little uncertain about it, so maybe youd have a little more peace of mind in buying a pc of your choice for now. why stress over it?
  9. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Make the switch feelthefire. An intel based Mac is the best possible computer to have- it can run all things Mac OS and Windows, need I say more. :)
  10. feelthefire thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Well I know full well what my father is going to say when I suggest that I replace my PC laptop with a mac, even if I split the cost. I'm sure he's going to point out that for $2500 I could get a dell or a compaq or a sony thats better for X reasons.

    I personally want the mac. I just want to make sure it will be functional for what I need before I make the full commitment- but having some backup for this negotiation would be helpful for me.

    Many of my professors also have linux boxes, but at the moment I don't need that kind of research functionality. Much of my computer use consists of internet (firefox, instant messenger), excel, word, minitab, and the E-notebook function of Chem3D that allows me to digitize my lab notebooks. Every few days I need to use things like Chem3D and mathematica/maple/solidworks, which are more graphics intensive, especially chem3D. So I need a high spec machine even though more than 50% of the useage is really pretty mundane.

    I think a macbook pro would suit my needs, but I want to have enough backup to make my case when the time comes to buy, especially if a PC will be able to boot OSX by then.
  11. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    See if this is of any help:
  12. feelthefire thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006

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